April 1, 2014

10 Practical Tips to Keep Floating. ~ Carolyn Riker.

SUP yoga

“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.” ~ Pema Chödrön

I have hit murky, muddled, and more like a swimming pool full of molasses surrounded by barbed wire. Words are cutting. Sound and light scratches the underbelly of my tenderness. Migraines are an affliction. My joints ache. Blinking hurts. My thoughts are dark and the memories revealed scorch like acid rain.

It has been awhile now, and my feelings are slipping through like quicksand. The harder I try to avoid feeling miserable, the deeper I fall.

Where does it all come from? And how is it my eyes feel like sandpaper even after a torrent of tears?

Positive Perky Polly is currently writing a pre-nuptial agreement with Pensiveness.

Two or three days ago (time is irrelevant) I stopped fighting and sat knee-deep in a personal jar of molasses. The lid was screwed on tightly. I lit a few candles in my small space and watched the shadows dance on the vanilla walls. I ran a hot bath and added Epsom salts. I used a wrench and pried open my jar of misery. Gently, I poured myself into a sea of saline.

I blended well.

Semi-buoyant, I closed my eyes and watched my mind fluttered through a file cabinet of incessant chatter: Stories, images, worries, fears, anguish and heartbreak surfaced. Layer upon layer I visited all sorts of demons and watched them dance, sometimes out of control, but only when I gave those images power. As soon as I sifted through facts versus fiction, pop! The bubble of memory and imagination vanished with the swift current and waves filling my tub.

What I have noticed is (and need to remind myself) everything changes. Seasons, feelings, time, moon phases, weather, relationships, energy, emotions, symptoms, friends, opportunities, events…it’s an endless list.

The cycle I’m in right now will change too. It’s not good or bad. I’m not wrong or right. Currently, I’m bobbing up and down watching the tides rinse me clean.

To keep me semi-focused and functioning I came up with a list. Something tangible to get me back to shore.

“For all my good intentions, there are days when things go wrong or I fall into old habits. When things are not going well, when I’m grumpy or mad, I’ll realize that I’ve not been paying attention to my soul and I’ve not been following my best routine.” ~ Robert Fulghum

#1. Take time for self.

Nap. Read. Meditate. Reconnect with nature. Each evening, I’m shutting down earlier and crawling into bed with a good book. I’m teaching myself to relax and getting to bed an hour earlier. 

“We read in bed because reading is halfway between life and dreaming.” ~ Anna Quindlen.

#2. Eat healthy.

Why is this so hard to do?  I’m gluten and dairy intolerant. I’ve known this for over a decade but somehow I let this knowledge slip. In the last year, my diet has suffered tremendously and I must regroup. I have to take care of myself. Starting today, I will plan a few meals and double the recipe. Reheating leftovers will be appreciated on busy evenings. 

#3. Sleep.

We spend approximately a third of our life sleeping. My mattress has been flipped-flopped and rotated. I’ve added two mattress pads and created a mattress mountain. I can no longer ignore my joint pain which leads to restless sleep and daytime exhaustion (plus a side of grumpiness). It is time to replace the mattress.  

“O bed! O bed! Delicious bed! That heaven upon earth to the weary head.” ~ Thomas Hood.

#4. Massage.

I haven’t had a massage in months. Now is an ideal opportunity to schedule one. It will help release toxins, ease joint pain, reduce stress and it feels delicious. 

#5. Yoga.

I have pushed yoga away, blaming my inertia, aches, and lack of time. I need to do the opposite and pull out my mat. I will challenge myself to 10 minutes a day.  

#6. Simplify.

What really needs to be done today?  To-do lists can become overwhelming therefore I will simplify by focusing on one or two tasks daily.  

“Even the smallest changes in our daily routine can create incredible ripple effects that expand our vision of what is possible.” ~ Charles F. Glassman.

#7. Connect.

Reach out and call a friend. I resist this for so many reasons but it is beneficial to hear a different perspective. It’s also an excellent way to grow a friendship. True friends like to support and it creates trust. 

#8. Be kind, always.

It’s easy for me to get snarky and harsh when things aren’t going well. Instead, find ways to be kind and give. I started by donating six bags of clothing and food to a local community agency. I felt an immediate overwhelming joyfulness just from helping someone else. 

“Your acts of kindness are iridescent wings of divine love, which linger and continue to uplift others long after your sharing.” ~ Rumi.

#9. Love.

Seek love. Walk away from drama and negativity. Projections are toxic. So is comparison.  

#10. Gratitude.

I ask myself each day, what am I grateful for? I keep the list simple and remind myself it’s not about length. Some nights it’s, I’m thankful to be breathing. 

The circumstances, emotions and feelings are all meant to be. It comforts me to read Pema Chödrön wisdom:

We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart.” 

Throughout this incredible odyssey (even the molasses-filled-jar-days), I am learning and I am honestly grateful.


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Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons

Photo: elephant archives

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